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Do you find Hinayana offensive? - Dhamma Wheel

Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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A Medic
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Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby A Medic » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:54 am

I was posting on anouther forum and I used the term Hinayana. Some one said that it was a offensive term to use. I did not mean it as that. I had thought that Hinayana was a branch of Buddhism like Mahayana. Also I thought that Theravada was a branch of Hinayana much in the same way Zen or Tibetan is a branch of Mahayana. I remeber being told that Thereavada was the only surviving school of Hinayana. Am I correct in this understanding or have I been mislead?

So is Hinayana a negative or even insulting term to use? Is there a proper us of it? Should I not use it at all? What is the meaning of Hinayana to followers of Theravada?

:namaste:

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Ben
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:18 pm

Hi A Medic

A few years ago Rev Eijo from e-sangha reported that after his research into the etymology and use of the term 'Hinayana', he concluded that it was always used as a derogatory expression.
You just need to be mindful that many Theravadins consider the use of the term 'hinayana' or 'hinayanist' as descriptors for their path or themselves insulting or ignorant.
There is a place to use 'hinayana', one such place is a scholarly article or discussion on the term itself and its origins.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:34 pm

Check out the meaning of in the PTS dictionary.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Dan74
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:43 pm

To put this sad terminology to rest and to restore balance I propose to rename Mahayana Yauvanavada, the Way of the Youth, as opposed to the Way of the Elders.

No one today (or at least not many) would dispute that Mahayana is a later school (ie younger) and although the new name doesn't quite roll off the tongue it's bound to have strong appeal. We just need a rapper to take it on!

GO YAUVANAVADA!!! :guns:

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Kare
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Kare » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:30 pm

Yes, Hinayana is a word with a derogatory meaning. Anyone who understands Pali and/or Sanskrit will find it offensive.

See a more detailed study of this question here:

The word Hinayana is an echo of an old debate. It should have been put to rest a long time ago.
Mettāya,
Kåre

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Zack
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Zack » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:06 pm

I find it discouraging.
I am of nature to decay, I have not gone beyond decay.
I am of the nature to be diseased, I have not gone beyond disease.
I am of the nature to die, I have not done beyond death.
All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to
my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do,
whether good or evil, of that I shall be the heir.
Thus we should frequently recollect.
- Upajjhatthana Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya v.57

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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:40 pm

No, I don't find it to be offensive. I find it to be a fitting name . The term just refers to the teachings (yana = vehicle, theory) that point out that materiality is inferior, low; poor, miserable; vile, base, abject, contemptible, despicable (Hina). The primary focus is to look directly at the narrow material-obsessed perspective that keeps us snared in baseness and reactive abjectivity. It is the pointing out of Hina.

Mahayana just refers to the teachings (yana) that point out that all living beings are in the same inclusive, large boat (Maha). Compassion is the primary focus to make this point about the mind's potential for either separateness (smallness, contractedness) vs. inclusivity (largeness,expansiveness). It is the pointing out of Maha.

Vajrayana just refers to the teachings (yana) that point out the potential strengths (Vajra) the mind is naturally capable of. The primary focus is on the mind's innate ability to "cut through" delusion. (Vajra = adamantine or diamond, which are extremely hard substances that can cut through anything). It is the pointing out of Vajra.

- The teachings that a material perspective is low and and miserable.
- The teachings of inclusivity as an antidote to the effects that arise from the delusion of separateness.
- The teachings that the mind has the innate potential to precisely cut through delusion.

There is nothing "high" or "low" in this naming convention...it's about different vehicles that lead to the same thing. Compare it to entering a house...some may use the front door, some may use the garage door, some may use the patio door. All entrances serve the exact same purpose and lead into the body of the house. In the same way, all three yanas lead directly to the same ultimate experience, and all three are found in each other, but in different degrees of primary focus. Hina, Maha, and Vajra are just three skillful tools.

Any tantrums we may have about "high" or "low" in relationship to these three skillful tools are born from the craving ego that is either wallowing in grandiosity or feeling insecure (which are just two sides of the same deluded coin). This hungry/fearful pettiness is fertile soil for sectarianism and arises out of an incomplete understanding (or a contrived self-serving ignorance) of the precise meaning/application of these three terms. Unfortunately, it is a small number of immature teachers and monks in all three of these traditions who haven't yet risen above their need to feel grandiose or insecure that perpetuate this rubbish, along with archaic Western secular scholarly mistranslations. Humans always find something to fight about, always searching for ways to confirm imagined differences rather than bringing common ground to the foreground of vision.
Last edited by pink_trike on Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:46 pm


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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:56 pm

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:05 pm


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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:08 pm

Depends how it is used,but for the most part it is used in a derogatory, or could be percieved in a, derogatory way, just as lamanism or lamanist could be seen as a derogatory term for Tibetan Buddhism if used to describe that branch.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:51 pm

Last edited by pink_trike on Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Kare
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby Kare » Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:57 pm

Mettāya,
Kåre

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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:08 pm

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:59 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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pink_trike
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:00 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:42 am


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jcsuperstar
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:01 am

yes
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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LauraJ
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby LauraJ » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:09 am




Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth. -The Dhammapada

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A Medic
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Re: Do you find Hinayana offensive?

Postby A Medic » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:28 am

After reading over this Ive decided that the simplest thing to do is to avoid the term, and deny the debate for myself.

I thank everyone for the replies, and I have learn a bit here today.


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